St. Martin, the Caribbean’s “Gourmet Capital” 

Caribbean Gourmet food

Those seeking the euphoric sensation of discovering new and mouth-watering tastes will find them in St. Martin, the “Gourmet Capital” of the Caribbean. The food is said to rival Paris’s bustling open-air markets, patisseries, and bistros along Montmartre, making it a foodie heaven amidst a tropical paradise of 37 white sand beaches. European ex-pats and locals alike prepare dishes that seamlessly blend Caribbean-influenced flavours with Haute French cuisine, seemingly guided by the mantra that while abs may be temporary, food is forever. 

 While St. Martin has a spate of French Caribbean restaurants that warrant a visit for their fresh and flavorful fare, its main street is also lined with great restaurants that cater to all tastes and desires. That includes traditional French cuisine mixed with Italian, Indian, Creole and more – it’s a thriving and diverse culinary scene! Offering everything from spicy to sweet and boasting no shortage of vegetarian and vegan options, these restaurants pack a punch with seafood curries, marinated meats, and locally sourced salads.  

The island boasts of over 350 restaurants and bars representing 140 distinct nationalities – probably the highest concentration of restaurants and bars per square mile to be found anywhere. Food everywhere in St. Martin is prepared with love, whether you visit a fine dining restaurant or an affordably priced ‘Lolo’.

Your trip to St. Martin is incomplete without tasting the island’s staple of Saltfish and Journey or Johnny Cake.  Historically, this was a bread that one would prepare to take on a journey, although as time went by, people started calling the bread Johnny cake and it has stuck). Another popular staple worth trying is conch sausage and cod fritters with a side of sauce Chien (a spicy vinaigrette infused with herbs).  

For high gastronomy, seek out culinary experiences at the Belmond La Samanna, home to two beautiful restaurants. Romantic, candlelit La Cave, offers rare vintages and rustic coziness while open-air bistro-styled L’Oursin Restaurant serves the freshest local catch with French flair. For a true smorgasbord of tasty eats, Grand Case is considered to be the island’s true culinary mecca. Perched on the northernmost tip of St. Martin, no other Caribbean town offers so many wonderful restaurants in one place. Amongst the traditional creole structures are restaurants that serve French, Italian, and American cuisine. Most of them have a gorgeous beachside setting with the most talented chefs whose cooking will leave you wanting more. 

Visiting the French quarter in Orleans is recommended; there you’ll find a gingerbread-trimmed Creole cottage called Chez Yvette. This charming authentic restaurant serves steaming platters of red snapper Creole, conch Yvette, oxtail stew, curried goat, and St. Martin chicken stew—all accompanied by rice and peas and fluffy, freshly made Johnny cakes. You also won’t want to miss an evening in the treehouse at Hidden Forest Café at Loterie Farm. Enjoy your tropical fare in the open-air surrounded by towering palm trees in a funky-chic treehouse look, with photos of musicians, oars dangling from the rafters, and hurricane lamps completing the distinct aesthetic.